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Interview with Blockchain Expert Amber Baldet

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In a recent interview with Quartz, expert Amber Baldet the “Madonna of blockchain” talked about knowing your worth, how the financial crisis gave her enough clarity to handle herself, and why now is the time to be a technologist.

Back in December she said:

“I sit in the middle. I’m a product person who knows about technology. Depending on the community I’m in, I wear different hats,”

Quartz: Baldet

What’s your big idea that other people aren’t thinking about or wouldn’t agree with? Why is it so important?

The financial industry has long been a consumer of open-source software, but is just beginning to share its own code with the world. Freely available, high-quality platforms built to meet the requirements of the most demanding banks in the world offer a tremendous opportunity to flatten the divide between first-world economies and everyone else.

Traditionally, most software is developed regionally, and a lack of global standardization isolates markets technically, even when people want to come together. By putting real money into first-class design and development, then “giving away” the result, we create huge opportunities for financial inclusion and business growth that more than pay for the initial investment.

Blockchain technology has been a catalyst for incumbent institutions to finally “get” the value of an open-source approach. We have an opportunity to either re-create walled gardens of the past or build a next-generation internet of value that changes how we connect in a way we haven’t seen since the rise of social media. It’s a very exciting time to be a technologist.  

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success?

I’m good at bouncing quickly between high-level abstractions and granular details, as well as transforming complex ideas to be relatable for diverse audiences. I also have what my mother refers to as an “acerbic wit.” This means that often when I give deeply technical talks, the feedback is, “Hilarious, I learned a lot!” And that’s the goal: to get people not just to listen, but to feel like they get it and are inspired to learn more, and ultimately get involved.

If you could make one change to help women at work, what would it be?

Anonymized salary transparency across the industry would make a huge difference in how underrepresented populations price themselves, as well as encourage fair play and competitive job markets.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The CEO of the first boutique sell-side firm I worked at was a quintessential old-school trader from Brooklyn. He once hung up the phone after a particularly heated conversation with a counter-party, pointed right at me and said, “Never apologize.”

“Never” is a strong word, but we have all heard that women often say “sorry” reflexively. Since then I’ve tried to apologize genuinely, and only when I mean it.

Source: https://work.qz.com/

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Blockchain and the Digital Revolution

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Cryptocurrencies and new technologies such as Blockchain are bringing a new idea for the future of finance.

Many people however have been saying that even if the uncertainty towards Bitcoin ends in failure, the Blockchain technology is the real protagonist in this digital revolution.

In an interview with Francesco Abbate and Luigi Matrone, they give some light about the potential of digital currencies and Blockchain.

Interview: Abbate, Matrone

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Francesco Abbate – Finance Director at Procter & Gamble, co-founder of decrypto.biz, CEO at Swiss Crypto Advisors. With 15 years of high level Finance experience in a multinational environment, coupled with many years of study and interest first in Bitcoin and then in crypto-currencies he is not only an investor & trader but also an orator, public speaker in the world of crypto.

Luigi Matrone – Former global brand manager at Procter & Gamble, co-founder and CEO at E-Business Institute, a consulting firm that provide digital and e-business solution for companies. Investing in the crypto world since few years, also co-founder and CEO of Smarter-chains, a digital platform helping manufacturers drive margin improvement and customer centricity by leveraging new technological capabilities.

I tried to get out some tips. But I got much better than only tips.

How is the weather in Davos? Blockchain must have been a dominant part of the narrative at the recent WEF?

It is quite cold and it snowed a lot here, but the super-hot topic was undeniably blockchain, there were so many discussion panels on this, it is clearly one of the most debated area, with people interested in this from all industries. It shows that this is getting traction, although we are still at a very early stage.

Let’s begin with the value. Because in the end it is the ‘value’ that is going to determine the usage, prevalence and future of cryptos. What is the intrinsic value of Bitcoin/crypto? They are not backed up by gold like $ dollar or guaranteed by the government?

That is a very good point. Actually since 1973 Nixon abandoned the gold coverage of $ dollar so we entered into the fiat money era. We are personally the opposite of an anarchist and I like and value order and governments, although to be fair people in Argentina or Zimbabwe might have a different idea of what trust in the government means.

When it comes to intrinsic value it all depends on circumstances and what people are willing to use to transfer value. We started with barter deals, we went through gold, fiat money, credit cards…and credit card was a big revolution decades ago as people could not see the real money. In prisons often cigarettes are used as a mean of value transfer, so it is all relative and what matters is what people are willing to attribute value to, not always this might be what is guaranteed by a government.

So ultimately value is a matter of trust. But how can we believe in Bitcoin if it is not regulated? We often read of hacks and theft. I wouldn’t leave my money on the mercy of these cyber-crooks.

Very important point indeed. We get this question every day. Bitcoin in itself as a protocol and as a software is fully regulated, there are rules for everything, the code is open source and everyone can read it. You can see how new Bitcoin are created roughly every 10 minutes as rewards for mining, how transactions are signed and broadcasted, how the ledger is validated and maintained. You can’t change the rules without consensus; it is a “distributed democracy system”. And in itself the system is completely secure, not because we say so but because that is how it mathematically works, the block-chain itself practically immutable thanks to the amount of computational power necessary to add every block to the block-chain, it is just mathematically impossible to go back and change the content or orders of transaction, you can’t lose your Bitcoin or get stolen this way. What indeed happened and will continue to happen is hacks to personal accounts which are not protected, or to exchanges which are centralized. This has nothing to do with Bitcoin itself, it is either a personal fault (you are responsible for your security, like you would not give your credit card pin to strangers), or the result of a centralized player exchanging money for Bitcoin. If you leave your Bitcoin on exchanges and their central server gets hacked, then you can lose. Again, the point here is not to leave Bitcoin on exchanges and use basic security and safety procedures to be protected, we also take care of education and consultancy about this in www.decrypto.biz. As always, the users are the weakest point of the chain, but this can be minimized with specific knowledge, tools, and good practice.

Source: http://moderndiplomacy.eu/category/business/economy/

 

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Cryptocurrencies is not Illegal in India

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made some comments on the fact that cryptocurrencies are completly legal in India and that the government will move to make use of the star technology, Blockchain.

“…The Government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system. The Government will explore use of Blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”

In an interview with Yourstory.com, Khurana clarified some of the doubts related to the issue with cryptos in India.

Interview with Yourstory: India

YourStory: What do you think about the FM’s mention on cryptocurrency in the Budget?  

Ajeet Khurana: We are extremely happy that something like cryptocurrency found mention in the Budget. It only goes on to say that the impact it has is so widespread, and there is an understanding that it exists in a strong way.

However, on the take of it not being a legal tender, we completely agree with the government on its  position.

We understand the concern around the illicit use of cryptocurrency and have maintained this position. Cryptocurrency enterprises have been maintaining complete transparency through KYC and other procedures to reduce the illicit use of these assets.

YS: The FM stated that cryptocurrency is not a part of the ‘payment system’. What is your view on this?

AK: The payments system includes a lot of things like the settlement mechanism, and the banking system. In recent times, digital wallets and other payment mechanisms have been added to the entire scenario.

What the Finance Minister might be saying is that cryptocurrency is not considered to be a part of these payment systems. Similarly, gold is not part of a payment system, but people still barter assets like gold for goods, as long as both parties record the transaction. It is an asset barter transaction.

There is a little subjectivity on the matter. Can an individual swap cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency?

We have to wait for clarification on what the Finance Minister meant when he mentioned payment system.

YS: What should the end-investor in cryptocurrency take from this announcement?

AK:  There has been no indication by the government that it is banning exchanges. Neither does it stop people from holding a cryptocurrency. It is just saying that the government doesn’t recognise cryptocurrency as money, which no country in the world does except Japan.

YS: We see a powerplay when it comes to banks pulling out from crypto exchanges in the country. Isn’t this hinting at something? 

AK: We have had this discussion, and what we are sure of is that banks who have taken the action of not providing accounts or services to these exchanges have done it on their own will.  They haven’t been instructed by the RBI to do so, and the Central Bank hasn’t issued any circular in this regard.

Source: https://yourstory.com/

 

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Founder of Cardstack Chris Tse Talks

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Chris Tse, the Founder and Head of Product at Cardstack spoke to the TechBullion about his projects including his leadership of a team of blockchain architects that work together to make the experience layer of the decentralized Internet.

In this recent interview, Mr Tse will be sharing some of the future plans for the Cardstack blockchain project and the CARD token sale tha was just announced.

Cardstack

TB: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Chris :I’m a lifelong technologist and designer, working on user-facing applications, analytic data systems, and open source software for nearly two decades: from hacking the Mozilla browser in the early days to designing dApps on Ethereum today. I’ve spent more than half of my career leading R&D and innovation teams for Fortune 500 companies, before more recently drawing upon my passion for open systems and protocols to start the Cardstack project. I’ve also co-founded two other blockchain startups, Dot Blockchain Media and Monegraph, which are pioneering real-world use cases for this new technology.

TB: What is Cardstack ?

Chris :Cardstack began in 2014 as an answer to a few questions: how can we create a user experience that will give people more power over their digital lives? How can we create a sustainable economic model for open source software? How can we use the power of the emerging decentralized Internet to make it all possible?

Users will get to know Cardstack through our Hub: an intuitive card-based user interface that lets users orchestrate their digital lives, whether it takes place on the cloud, on the blockchain, or on their own machine. From one place, users will be able to manage all of their software, and visualize all the information coming in and out. We open-source it, so that the system is not under any one part’s control.

For developers, Cardstack is an open-source SDK that allows for the creation of composable, extensible apps, backed by our off-chain consensus protocol and a deep library of powerful drop-in functionality. The key is that Cardstack allows makers to get paid according to the real usage of their work, calculated by our transparent, community-run payment and governance algorithm.

More than that, Cardstack is a new direction in how we think about the relationship of people to software and people to the Internet. It’s an economically viable, open-source vision of what decentralization looks like.

TB: What inspired you to launch a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency venture with Cardstack ?

Chris :We see an opportunity right now to challenge the way today’s monopolistic digital superpowers put users into silos, mine their data, and extract the value they create. Cardstack’s goal is to reorient the Internet around users. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are innovations that have laid a very strong foundation for that goal; we’re improving the technology and upgrading the experience to make it usable and sustainable for the mass market.

TB: What makes the Cardstack cryptocurrency unique?

Chris :The Cardstack Token (CARD) is an ERC20 token designed to give users one simple way to manage all their digital needs, while fairly paying developers and creators for doing good work. We back it up with a new consensus protocol called Tally, which harnesses currently existing GPU mining power to perform the complex calculations needed to scale up dApps while keeping everything secure. Built into this is a function to reward miners with a share of the ecosystem they’re helping to power, which makes everything economically sustainable.

TB: How much do you intend to raise in the CARD Token Sale and what are the steps for contributing?

Chris :We just announced our Token Generation Event details here: ​http://cardstack.com/tge

Source: https://www.techbullion.com/

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